Barbara (nee Zamanigian) Haroutunian passed away peacefully on January 12, 2021. She was the wife of the late John Haroutunian and the daughter of the late Leo and Victoria Zamanigian. Barbara received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Education Degrees from Wayne State University, taught elementary school and became a principal in the Detroit Public School System.
She was an active member of St. John Armenian Church in Southfield, Michigan beginning with Sunday School and the ACYOA. During her college years, she sang in the St. John Church Komitas Choir and years later became chair of the church’s Women’s Guild. Barbara subsequently was elected to serve several terms on the Women’s Guild Central Council of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church.
Shortly after retirement, Barbara was called upon by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem to restructure the curriculum of the well-known St. Tarkmanchatz School there. Taking with her US specialists in elementary education, she accomplished the task and won the hearts of Jerusalem’s Armenian community.
After numerous trips to Armenia, she was asked to teach English as a second language in the town of Ichevan which she did for several years without hesitation. While at the school, Barbara observed that many of the classrooms were in dire need of repair. In one year, she singlehandedly raised $25,000 which was sufficient to completely renovate many of the rooms in the school much to the delight of the teachers and the residents of Ichevan.
More recently, Barbara was asked to join a committee of international Armenian women, chaired by the wife of the President of Nagorno-Karabakh, to assist in the region’s reconstruction.
Barbara was also active in many Armenian organizations. She was a member of the Board of Education of the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian Day School in Southfield, Michigan and a Past Matron of the Daughters of Vartan Zabelle Otyag of Detroit, serving on the Grand Council of the organization from 1994-1996 and 2002-2005. Barbara was a devout member of the ADL and the Tekeyan Cultural Association. In addition, she was a proud member of the Armenian Heritage Cruise Committee for many years.
Barbara is survived by her daughter Lindsay (Aram) Sahakian; two grandchildren, Chloe and Mason; her brother Dr. Gary (Mariann) Zamanigian; and a nephew, Drew Zamanigian.
Under the direction of the Simon Javizian Funeral Home, a private funeral will take place in St. John Armenian Church, Southfield, MI, with Very Reverend Fr. Aren officiating, followed by interment in the family lot in Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit.
From the Armenian Heritage Cruise Committee:
Barbara had many facets to her life and career. Barbara’s family, friends and Armenian life were at her core. She was very active at St. John’s Armenian Church of Southfield, MI serving in leadership roles with the Komitas Choir and parish Women’s Guild, the Women’s Guild Central Council and other Diocesan-level committees, along with the Daughters of Vartan and AHC!
Barbara was an accomplished educator and had a long career as a Principal in the Detroit School System. After her retirement from public education, her skills as an educator turned international in scope. Among her many accomplishments, she was approached by the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to restructure the curriculum of its Tarkmanchatz School.
Barbara’s organizational and interpersonal skills were always front and center with the AHC and our guests. Most remember her smiling face and outgoing personality as the committee member who aptly coordinated the popular Armenian Festival Day on the AHC. From the dance contests, to the best tri-color costume, to handling the face painting for the children, Barbara approached each of her responsibilities with vigor and professionalism.
Barbara Haroutunian is survived by her daughter Lindsay Sahakian and her husband Aram; grandchildren Chloe and Mason; her dear brother Dr. Gary Zamanigian and his wife Mariann, nephew Drew Zamanigian and countless colleagues, relatives and friends. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
On behalf of the Armenian Heritage Cruise, we extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to the family. Asdvadz Hokin Loosavoreh